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Wolfs, what good do they do?

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I have a friend (no name) who is a real wolf hater, actually he hates all that is a predator, by this person world would be a better place without any wolfs, foxes, eagles, and other predators in the world. He and many others like him look for a quick fix for their fear. By me that is ignorance. Personally I seek knowledge, and that I have done for decades. All animals in the world have a function to make the environment and earth work as it should.

What you did not know about wolfs

“Polish Academy of Sciences researcher Astrid V. Stronen and University of Calgary scientist Erin Navid to take a closer look at British Columbia’s wolves.

Wolves are capable of moving over vast geographical distances. They can easily travel more than 70 kilometers per day without even breaking a sweat. They can cross valleys and mountains, and can swim across rivers and even small channels of sea. The mainland is rugged and is home to tons of wildlife, while the islands are less mountainous and host fewer species. On the mainland, wolves can feast on moose and mountain goats. On the islands, wolves rely on marine resources, like fish, for 85% of their diets.” Jason G. Goldman

The existing of wolfs can actually have inpact of the environment it live in, not only animals but the land as well.

Video Youtube.

When predators are gone from the land, the grassers grow in numbers so much it actually destroys the land. The wolf and other predators keep the grassers in check so that they do not eat the world to pieces. Where there are too little vegetation landslides are common, this is common basic knowledge.

Even small distances departing the different “tribes” of wolfs make a difference in the behaviour, hunting and genetics of the wolf.

“It’s an important reminder that nature and nurture, genetics and environment, are more tightly linked than it might seem at first. “ Jason G. Goldman

In a wolf pack only the alpha male and the alpha female are breeding, the alpha male have the exclusive right to make pups within the pack. The alpha male and female are the king and queen, and all the others have their place in the pack, and the lower ranking eat last. If another male try to pair up with a female the alpha male put him in place and maybe turn him away from the pack.

The wolf is normally a shy animal that try to avoid humans. Through times it have been very unknown how the wolf actually is socially, in the pack. In the 1970’s Jim & Jamie Dutcher made a big closed in area holding a pack so they could study them without interference.

Video Youtube.

The domestic dog was orginally a wolf taken in and domesticated, breaded and evolved during time.

Video Youtube.

When looking at the wolf one must remember it is a dog animal. Even though a wild predator it is still a dog animal. When looking at the wolf its way of acting it is much similar to the dog, not everything, but very close. For example a wolf who growls do like the dog, it growl to warn you “No further!” If it would attack you it would do it without hesitating. Looking at videos about wolfs and their behaviour in the flock one can learn how they are, how they respond in surtant situations, what is a warning, what is not a warning but a attack. Not everything is about killing.

Video Youtube.

How dangerous is the wolf to man?

“Today in the 21st century it is estimated > 10,000 wolves in Europe, 40,000 wolves in Russia, and 60,000 wolves in North America. Despite this, only four people have been killed by non-rabid wolves in Europe, 4 in Russia and none in North America over the last 50 years. Correspondingly for rabid wolves 4 people in Europe, 5 people in Russia and none in North America. This should be looked upon in comparence with the amount of people killed by other animals like snake bites, lions, sharks, bears, elks, and other big animals per year that is several hundreds.” nina.no

“There is a cultural fear of wolves. Recent surveys in Norway suggests that the fear of wolves is still wide despite the fact that the wolf has been absent from the fauna for a couple of decades, and despite the fact that no one in Norway has been injured or killed by wolves in the past 200 years.” nina.no

Last time someone was killed by wolfes in Sweden was in 1727-1763 (4) and 1820-1821. The last case in 1820-1821 was a wolf who had escaped from captivity and was not shy of humans. (nina.no)

In what situations can wolves be dangerous to humans?
(1) Rabies infected wolves, (2) Wolves who are not afraid of humans through habituation – do not feed them, do not befriend them, keep your trash bin closed, do not have them kept, (3) Provocation, thats where the wolf find itself in a situation feels threatened, attempted killed, caught in a trap or in a trapped in a corner situation. Or situations where people come too close to dining, wolfs den and pups. (4) Extreme social and ecological environment, The majority of attacks seem to occur in highly modified environment. For instance environment with little or no access to natural prey where wolves have to look for food using garbage and livestock feed. In areas children are used as herders where there is general poverty. Herding is having pray around attracting wolfs, and trying to fight them off will make the wolf feel threatened and in self defence mode. Children in such areas without natural pray for the wolf to hunt walking around with no adults around can also be in danger. Limited access to weapons likely would have affected wolf shyness of people. Under such conditions, the wolf could come in very close contact with people, allowing for the episodes of attacks on humans could be incurred. (nina.no)

None of the factors agent associated with wolf attacks are present in today’s Scandinavia. Rabies is absent and at the same time is habitat quality high and with good access to natural prey. The fact that wolves should be hunted for damage control and sick animals make wolf naturally afraid of people. The current social and economic situation is not such that it brings people in high-risk situations. (nina.no)

How many wolfs are there really in Norway in 2014?

“The background for this status report on wolves in Norway is ongoing and longstanding joint Swedish-Norwegian population records of wolf in winter. Surveyed about the wolf’s status in Norway so far this winter (2013-2014). Extensive tracing of wolves in the snow and DNA analysis conducted for mapping the survival and differentiation among individuals apart. Mapping the number of wolves in Scandinavia takes place each winter in the period 1 October – 28 February. During the winter (2013-14), for the period 1 October to 28. February preliminary evidence 65 -73 wolves in Norway, of which 33 to 37 animals confirmed in the Norwegian side of the border. “ Rovdata.no

A reality story

A stray wolf wandered to Sykkylven. Wolfs become stray when there is competition in the pack about the females. It took about 30 sheep and therefore it was hunted down and killed. With only 37 wolfes recorded in Norway alone, shooting of the wolf in Sykkylven is pretty low if you ask me. In many countries in the world when a animal is in the way of the people living there they fire a tranqualizer gun, make the animal go to sleep and move it to a better suited area. Read about it.

I went to the area in Sykkylven in hope to be able to see the wolf. I went there really early in the morning before anyone there were awake, and late in the evening, without any luck. And when I thought of maybe moving in advance of the route he was going, unfortunately I read in the paper the morning after that the wolf was killed by hunters. It made me very sad. I also felt cheated on the possibility to spot a wild wolf. On top of it they will stuff the animal and put it out on display in the local nature museum. It makes me sick to my stomach.

They actually rather have the wolf like this, and stuffed, than alive.

The haters and those protective of their live stock scream “- Kill it!” The say they are scared for their animals and themselves. Still when I was in the area well in time before the sun rised horses were in the fields, dogs out tied to poles, cats wandering about, sheeps and lambs out with no garding and low fences, and no one of those were harmed.

People commenting in discussions in newspapers claiming they are afraid for themselves and their kids walking to school. The wolf was around for about 3-4 weeks and no kid was hurt. They stoud waiting for the school bus, was out bicycling, rumbling about as always. And no one got hurt.

As with any other thing in the world knowledge is the clue to success. It is even more true in the nature. It is not only about catching fish, strawling about and so on. Weather can be a threat and one need to know how to survive. You can meet a bear, an elk or any other animal that can pose as a threat to you. It is actually more common to be attacked by a bear than by a wolf, and a angry elk kan stump you to death. It have not been a wolf attack on humans in Norway since 1810, last a person was attacked by a bear in neighbouring Sweden was only 4 years ago. A bear wanting to be threatening stand on their back feet, so they might see us as angry when we do that. But do not climb a tree to escape, bears climb trees too, just stay away from them.

So what to do if you meet a wolf?
If you see the wolf before it sees you, walk away silently. You don’t want the wolf to see you.
Notice the wind direction, stay away from having your scent travelling with the wind to the wolf. They have a better scent than sight.
The wolf will probably growl to warn you if you get to close, or just run away.
Do not make eye contact, because that is taken as an act of aggression on your part and might trigger an attack.
Don’t grin or show your teeth, it is seen as aggressive and might trigger the wolf to attack.
Don’t run, as that will only stimulate the wolf’s instinct to attack. Keep the wolves in front of you not at your back for this will cause predatory instincts to kick in. You can’t outrun them. Wolves work like this: they want their target to run because they know that you can’t fight back while you are running. Wolves will try to scare you into running, but don’t do it.
Gather together. Kids, injured people and animals in the middle.
Back away, do not turn your back to the wolf, and do not show agression.
Up a tree — that’s not a bad idea. Wolves can’t climb trees, so you are safe there.

Always have a camp fire all night. If wolves are encircling the camp or you consider them to be too close, light a smoky fire. Use green leaves and damp wood to make as much smoke as possible. When you have some smoking embers, move these near a tree or disperse them between two to three trees. Apply resin to the branches and light them. Attempt to get the smoke to go downwind. Wolves dislike smoke. ( So does people with asthma so that could be a problem. Cover your face. ) Use branches, sharp sticks, objects, etc. to create a defensive shelter. Make a sharp weapon from a branch or stick, and also make a fire torch. Hoist all food in a sack up a tree far away from the camp.

If the wolf do not let you be:
Try to make yourself look as large as possible. Wave your arms and coat, hoist a backpack overhead to make you look bigger.
Take something and make a lot of noice. Bang trees, slam pots. They do not like high noice. Banging metal to eachother can be helpful in making an unbearable clatter for the wolves’ hearing.
Use any weapon at hand, a club, a branch, a walking staff, a knife, a gun, pepper spray, a Taser, a mountaineering axe.
Bear in mind that a wolf’s snout and nose are very sensitive and can be badly damaged if you hit hard enough. When defending yourself, aim for the wolf’s face. The rest of body is protected by the thick fur and is harder to hurt.
Get on your feet and kick, scream and fight back. (Don’t expect it to be scared, just hassled out that you’re not an easy target).
Blocking your neck so that the wolf doesn’t get a hold of typical bite zones, especially your neck and face. Protect your face and throat by using your forearm to fend off the attack.
Wolves can be easily distracted by food. Throw some if the wolf chases you.

If the wolf chases you, it might not be to kill you. I can be it want to chase you away of some reason (food storage, den, pups a.s.). If it is really attacking you to kill, it will be more aggressive and not only chasing and growl.

Kids
Kids must be taught all of this. But kids are also impulsive and not always aware of dangers so keep them in reach when out in the woods, and do not let them alone. They may act the wrong way and therefor trigger the wolf.

Dogs
If you are hiking with your dog in wolf territory, keep the dog in your sight. Pick up its poop, keep it quiet and encourage it to not pee. In the wild peeing is a way to mark territory a way to tell this is my land. All of these actions will attract wolves and they will view you and your dog as intruders.

“They have powerful jaws and teeth and powerful bodies capable of great endurance, and often run in large packs. Nevertheless, they tend to fear and avoid humans beings. Wolves vary in temperament and their reaction to humans. Those with little prior experience with humans avoid them, and those positively conditioned through feeding, may lack fear. Do not feed them, and do keep your trashbin closed.” Wikipedia

Have a look around when you are out so you know what is around. Out running it is not a good thing to just barge into the wolfs privacy space. If you keep away, they probably do to. (W)

I’d like to qoute a woman living in wolf area commenting online, and another person anonymous

“Bri November 28, 2011 at 8:53 PM  Wolves aren’t dangerous, I live in Arkansas and there’s wolves running around were I live and I go out riding horses, including young horses, and never get attacked. I’ve road up close to their den before and diffident forced away. And they haven’t attacked locals and where I live there’s nothing but ranches. I believe it’s use that make them feel scared. Think of it like when there’s a new animal running around and we feel threatened. That’s how it feels to them.”

Anonymous June 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM Wolves don’t attack people. Bullshit. 2 wolves came to my camp and I was alone. They approached me and I made myself stay calm. They looked around and then just left, not exactly a brutal killer.”

Of course you should act with care, knowledge and with respect for it could become dangerous if you act the wrong way, but humans are not their natural pray. They hunt deer, elk, reindeer, bulls, mice, rats, a.s. But in their territory you are visiting their home, and just like you would not like a visit unvanted and to close, the don’t like it either.

Move it

I say it is possible to both care about the live stock and the wolf. Firstly they could do something about the fences. Fences in Norway are about 30-40 cm high electrical fences, actually a one string or two string between some thin plastic sticks. It may hold the sheeps in most of the time (even though I often see stray sheeps), but it will not hold any predators out of the fences. Actually foxes, eagles, lynx, and other predators can take lambs too you know.

And I actually think we should take a closer look at outselves. Are we really any better? People claim it is so sad about the lambs taken by the wolf. And I agree, it is probably not a very nice experience for the lamb, but it is probably short, and it is the way of nature. This is the way nature is designed either you like it or not. Shall predators go on a diet of carrots? It is not realistic. And are we any better us humans? We kill cows, ox, sheeps, lambs, calfs, reindeers, deers, elk, fish, whales and mammals and many other animals every day, many more than the wolfs do. The human is actually the worst predator. We kill not only for food, people hunt for fun, and some kill animals for only some bodyparts for money. And we also kill much more than we need and a lot goes to waste. Animals are kept only for their skin, tormented and stripped for their skin before dead.

Video Youtube.

If we follow the way of thinking of the wolf haters and those protective of their live stock that the wolf should be exterminated, then we should exterminate the humans too? We are actually worse than the wolfs when it comes to killing live stock and other animals. We actually hurt our own spieces too. That we pick the meat, leather, wool, or fur in the store does not mean it does not come from a animal killed.

The predators are important to nature as a whole.

Killing the wolf is not the only option. It can be moved. They do it other places so why not in Norway? In other countries they tranqualize the animal using a tranqualizer gun, put it in a box and move it to a more suited area. It is not necessary to kill the wolf.

/ Annelie

ps. I actually eat meat too. Some of the stuff on this blog post is very graphic, but it shows reality, so I think it is important. It is a reality check. Reality do not get any smaller because you hide from it.

Author: Annelie

I like canoeing, photographing, friends, movies, food, humor, and going on trips. I dislike rudeness, dishonesty, violence, nastyness, and people not caring for others. I do not drink much, I do not smoke and I do not do drugs. I love friends who are kind to me and stick with me. If you want to give me a gift, the best gift is to stop smoking and stop using fragranced products. Then you give me health and that dear friend, is the best gift a person can get. It is a gift of love. I got asthma and I am hearing disabled.

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